We Need Employers Who Care About Mental Health, and to Plan For When They Don’t.

Have you seen the exchange between Madalyn Parker, and her boss, Ben Congleton?  She sent an email to her team saying that she was taking a few days off to take care of her mental health.  She was open and honest about it.  He boss’ response astonished a lot of people:

Her boss was supportive of her need to take care of herself- including her mental health.  As a person who struggles with anxiety and depression, the support of someone who recognized that taking care of yourself mentally is just as important as taking care of yourself physically is astounding Not every boss is like that.

Mental health is still stigmatized.  I know that a lot of people wouldn’t hesitate to call in sick to a job if they had a flu, but would try to soldier through having an anxiety attack.  I know. I’ve done it.  There is sympathy when you’re physically ill, but annoyance when you’re mentally ill.  I know, I’d dealt with it.  I had a slight recurrence of Conversion Disorder as I was dealing with the death of my Step-Grandma, and when I called in sick to work, I was chastised for not coming in.  I wasn’t able to use my legs well, and was walking with a walker, but it was made very plain to me that missing work was not only inconveniencing the manager, but my co-workers as well. In fact, I was told that they were going to  “reassess my employment” if I continued to miss work. I had missed ONE day.  However, the co-worker who had recently had an accident wasn’t shamed for calling in.   I felt terrible about missing work, but I couldn’t WALK.  After talking to my psychiatrist, my parents, and thinking about what was best for me, I quit that job.

I quit because I felt that taking care of my mental health was worth more than a job that was making me sick with stress. I was lucky I was in a position to quit. I live at home with my parents, I have another job managing the social media for my local animal shelter, and I had firm grasp of my finances.

My parents taught me from a young age to be careful with my money.  I usually have a budget and know what I can spend, and how much to save. Of course I blow money, but I am also  saving for a car, travel, and concert tickets.  I use a site, Feed The Pig.org , that has a budget planning and ways to help you reach goals.  For instance, I use a Goal planner to save money for a car, while putting money away in an emergency fund and still having cash to go out and have fun.   I also used it’s credit card calculators to see if was the right time to get a credit card.  It wasn’t.

Knowing that I had an emergency fund to fall back on while I looked for another job is what made it easier  for me to decide to take care of myself.  Just as I planned on ways to take care of my mental health, I also planned on ways to take care of my financial health.

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